Phillip King gives Hong Kong fast start in Davis Cup before Thailand hit back
Sick player paves way for team, but hosts win second singles
Less than 24 hours after arriving in Phuket, an ailing Phillip King gave Hong Kong a fighting chance at the end of the first day of the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone group two tie against Thailand with the scores level at 1-1 after the opening singles.
King defeated Warit Sornbutnark 6-2, 7-6, 6-3 to get Hong Kong off to a blazing start at the Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club.
But the hosts fought back, winning the second singles despite a gutsy effort from Ognian Kolev, who went down 6-4, 7-5, 7-5 to Wishaya Trongcharoenshaikul.
"I am more than satisfied with the opening day results," said a happy Chris Lai, Hong Kong's non-playing captain.
"It will now all boil down to the doubles and they seem to have the upper hand on paper as their pairing won the Asian Championships last December."
King, who joined the squad on Thursday night, is certain to play in the doubles with Lai keeping his options open and will decide his partner before the tie begins.
Kolev is favoured, with youngsters Kevin Wong Chun-hun and Andrew Li Hei-yin waiting in the wings.
Thailand will field their number one player Pruchya Isarow, who was rested for the singles, and Nuttanon Kadchapanan in the doubles.
"Phillip returned well and out-rallied the big-serving Warit," said Lai. "It was an impressive performance considering he had a fever and flu for the last few days and hadn't been able to practise much.
"Finishing the match in three sets will also help him recover quicker for the doubles and more importantly for the first of the reverse singles.
"Ogi came up against a big-hitter like himself and it was decided on which player made the fewer errors. Ogi made quite a few, while his opponent won the big points," Lai said.